Earth Overshoot Day
In less than 8 Months, Humanity exhausts Earth's budget for the yearEarth Overshoot Day 2015 lands on August 13. Please see the new website for Earth Overshoot Day
Below is information from Earth Overshoot Day 2014:August 19 is Earth Overshoot Day 2014, marking the date when humanity has exhausted nature’s budget for the year. For the rest of the year, we will maintain our ecological deficit by drawing down local resource stocks and accumulating carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We will be operating in overshoot.
Just as a bank statement tracks income against expenditures, Global Footprint Network measures
humanity’s demand for and supply of natural resources and ecological services. And the data is sobering.
Global Footprint Network estimates that approximately every eight months, we demand more renewable
resources and C02 sequestration than what the planet can provide for an entire year.
Earth Overshoot Day is the annual marker of when
we begin living beyond our means in a given year.
While only a rough estimate of time and resource
trends, Earth Overshoot Day is as close as science
can be to measuring the gap between our demand
for ecological resources and services, and how much
the planet can provide.
The Cost of Ecological Overspending
Throughout most of history, humanity has used
nature’s resources to build cities and roads, to
provide food and create products, and to absorb our
carbon dioxide at a rate that was well within Earth’s
budget. But in the mid-1970s, we crossed a critical
threshold: Human consumption began outstripping
what the planet could reproduce.
According to Global Footprint Network’s calculations,
our demand for renewable ecological resources and the services they provide is now equivalent to that of more than 1.5 Earths. The data shows us on track to require the resources of two planets well before mid-century.
The fact that we are using, or “spending,” our natural capital faster than it can replenish is similar to having expenditures that continuously exceed income. In planetary terms, the costs of our ecological overspending are becoming more evident by the day. Climate changea result of greenhouse gases being emitted faster than they can be absorbed by forests and oceansis the most obvious and arguably pressing result. But there are othersshrinking forests, species loss, fisheries collapse, higher commodity prices and civil unrest, to name a few. The environmental and economic crises we are experiencing are symptoms of looming catastrophe. Humanity is simply using more than what the planet can provide.
Methodology and Projections
Earth Overshoot Day is an estimate, not an exact date. It’s not possible to determine with 100 percent
accuracy the day we bust our ecological budget. Adjustments of the date that we go into overshoot are
due to revised calculations, not ecological advances on the part of humanity.
As Global Footprint Network methodology changes, projections will continue to shift. But every scientific
model used to account for human demand and nature’s supply shows a consistent trend: We are well
over budget, and that debt is compounding. It is an ecological debt, and the interest we are paying on
that mounting debtfood shortages, soil erosion, and the build-up of CO₂ in our atmosphere—comes
with devastating human and monetary costs.